The Noise of Time is a novel based on the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. It takes place from his birth in 1906 to his death in 1975, and while most things in the plot are true to life, the book is classified as a novel due to its creative structure and other artistic liberties. The book is told in third-person narration with very few instances of dialogue. The narration generally hews close to Shostakovich's own thoughts and feelings. The narrative generally concerns the tension between Shostakovich's own artistic ideals and the stringent restrictions of the Soviet government. The narrative also incorporates information about Shostakovich's personal life. The book is separated into three sections, with the first covering his boyhood and youth, the second covering his middle years, and the final covering his elder years.